In what may be another ad campaign gone awry, Doritos is featuring a new Super Bowl advertisement in which a priest, searching for ways to return to the church, has a supposedly brilliant idea: Replacing the host wafer with a Dorito. While the denomination of the church is unclear, what is clear is that most Christian denominations consider the host to be a big portion of communion and might find the commercial, titled "Feed your flock!", insensitive. A spokesman for Frito-Lay told The Examiner that the commercial had been approved and would not be taken down from the website.
This contradicts Frito-Lay's own contest rules, which state that submissions "may not be obscene or indecent, including but not limited to nudity or profanity," and especially that it "must not contain defamatory statements (including but not limited to words or symbols that are widely considered offensive to individuals of a certain race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or socioeconomic group.)"
But in this commercial, on the other hand, one congregant asks for his communion in the form of a Cool Ranch flavored Dorito. (And behind him, inexplicably, is a man in a toga with a flower in his ear, while there are people dressed as Amish in a neighboring line.)
The spokesman explained that while he didn't have the rules in front of him, the moderator of the contest had decided that the commercial was fine. When I pointed out that the rules of the contest said otherwise, he admitted he wasn't the person who would know best and that those who would "were probably still on vacation." I asked if I could talk to the moderator and he said he would try. When asked whether he had received a lot of blowback for the ad, he said, "Many have commented on it, and we definitely take people's feedback into consideration."
Does that mean Frito-Lay will remove the commercial from its website? "Well, we've already announced our finalists, and this commercial was not one of them." Yes, but it's still up on the website. Would they reconsider the decision to keep it online? "I'm not in a position to say."
So I finally asked the question we would all ask. If I did a commercial in which I humorously jabbed at Muslim traditions, would it have been kept online? "All submissions that conformed to the rules of the contest would be considered."
UPDATE: Twitter user KevEnoch writes: "Oh, bah, I'm sure any day now we'll see a commercial where Muslims turn their prayer mats to point at the new 2011 Lexus LS." Exactly.